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PPR339 Elections, Voters and Political Parties

Tutor: Dr Martin Steven
Term: Michaelmas

Course Description

This module focuses on the most fundamental component of democratic political systems – party politics.  In particular, it analyses key political behaviour issues related to models of voting, party organisation and public policy.  It adopts a broadly comparative approach, with an emphasis on advanced industrial democracies in the west – especially the United Kingdom, but also other parts of Europe and the United States. 

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

• Assess the merits of the different models of voting behaviour
• Identify the main elements of party organisation
• Understand the main concepts of party system formation and development
• Be aware of the causes and consequences of ideological change in political parties
• Come to a view about good practice and design in relation to electoral systems
• Study government formation and the relationship between elections, parties and policy

Assessment

40% coursework and 60% exam.
Coursework: 1 essay of 3000 words. Exam: 2 hours.

Teaching Method

Lecture (1.5 hours) and seminar (1 hour) weekly.

Introductory Reading

R. Dalton, D. Farrell and I. McAllister       Political Parties and Democratic Linkage: How Parties Organize Democracy (2013)  
A.Clark                                                    Political Parties in the UK (2012)
C .Van der Eijk and M. Franklin               Elections and Voters (2009)
P. Webb, D. Farrell and I. Holliday         Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies (2002)

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